By RACHAEL FREY
Rodeo is the beating, bucking heart of the Calgary Stampede. More than just a sport, it is homage to the grit and romance of the Wild West. Rodeo champions from around the world test their mettle against the finest livestock, competing in daily roping events, steer wrestling and barrel racing for glory and their share of over $2 million in prize money.
For nine nights, 36 drivers and 216 horses lay it all on the line for victory in the world’s premier chuckwagon event, the GMC Rangeland Derby. Wagon teams thunder around the track at breakneck speed. Each night, the competition is followed by the TransAlta Grandstand Show. The sparkling stage show features music, dance and cultural performances plus a breathtaking fireworks show.
The ENMAX Corral Show features three daily performances of Family Feud Live. Hosted by comedian Caroline Rhea, audience “families” compete in a round of Family Feud questions for cash. Stampede Corral, free with gate admission.
The size and scope of the carnival midway will surprise visitors. It’s irresistibly packed with the best scream-inducing rides, games of chance and skill as well as two concert stages. And don’t forget the food—barbecue beef-on-a-bun and mini donuts are favourites, but there are lots of other weird and wonderful options like deep-fried butter and chocolate-bacon apples. Ride tickets available at midway kiosks.
Stampede Park is located in the Victoria Park neighbourhood on the southeast corner of downtown Calgary and is serviced by two CTrain stops, visit www.calgarytransit.com/stampede for Stampede service. General gate admission, 11 am to midnight. For rodeo, grandstand and concert tickets (which include gate admission), call the Stampede Ticket Office at 403-269-9822 or 1-800-661-1767 or visit cs.calgarystampede.com.